A math teacher in Oklahoma writes:
"At my professional development class for math teachers, I'm starting to hear the term "low confidence learners" as a euphemism for the d*mb kids.
"I think this is great! Having a euphemism for the single biggest reality that we teachers wrestle with everyday -- some kids are smarter than others -- means that at least the concept is officially thinkable. Before we had a euphemism, we had to pretend that everybody was equal in their math capabilities, which was hugely dysfunctional from a teaching standpoint in all sorts of ways, as you can easily imagine.
The philosophy behind the term "low confidence learner" is that all our students already understand everything about math, we just have to stop harshing their mellow by doubting this, and let them let all this math knowledge flow out of them on the test.
"The funny thing is that us math teachers all think we're smarter than the other teachers. (Which we are.) Of course, the other teachers boast about it: "I'm not a "math person." I never got into all that times table stuff," they're always saying with a smug look on their face.
"Well, excuse me ... How would they look at me if I said, "I'm not an "alphabet person." I never got into all that now-I-know-my-ABCs stuff." Yeah, right ... But they're totally complacent about being innumerate.
"The principal was giving one of his talks to all the teachers and he told us that 90% of 50 was 40. He must have got a funny look from somebody (thank God for the union!) because he stopped and tried to work out exactly what 90% of 50 was. It took him about 30 seconds. It made my day! Of course he makes three times what I do."
In a lot of school districts, the principles have their own union, which is kind of like baseball team managers having their own union so they can't be fired, only worse.